Residents of Manu’a have been asking for help with the pets on their islands since I started volunteering here over 2 years ago. I have tried to schedule a trip several times, but it kept getting put off. This time, I was determined to make it happen! Veterinarians Leianne Lee Loy and Eileen Naaman came from Hawaii to help. Though it was in the works for months, the government here refused to ok our travel requests, so none of my staff was able to travel to help. We paid our own travel and lodging, but we made it work. We were very lucky to have excellent volunteers from Tutuila (the main island of American Samoa) along to help us. Thanks Luana Scanlan, Pepa Liaina, and Sylvia Miscoi!!
We couldn’t all fly on the same day, as there are limited flights (4 per week to Ta’u and one per week to Ofu, weather permitting). We also had a terrible time getting supplies over as the weather was bad and the ferry had been broken for several weeks. We took a few bins of supplies to get us through the first few days. Pepa and Sylvia were to arrive the next day, so we waited a day to start the clinics and spent our first day exploring a bit. It also poured the first night and caused landslides all along the north side of Ta’u, making travel to the other villages quite a challenge for a day or two.
The flight over was very pretty in between the clouds. Arrival, getting situated, and then a walk through the village and a section of the National Park. We helped Eseta collect young taro leaves for palusami (a local delicious dish of taro leaves with coconut cream). After our walk, we had a small birthday party for Mo’o, who is the son at Eseta’s Homestay.